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Saturday March 2nd 2013, kick off 14:30 at Ynys Park.
Welsh League Division One.
Ton Pentre (Red/Red) 2-2 Pontadarwe Town (Black White Stripes/Black).
Admission £5 with programme included, hot dog and coffee £2.10.
Attendance -67 (headcount).

Overnight we’d enjoyed the hospitality of the Gwaelod Inn in Gwaelod-y-Garth (see my post ‘Well not so hot’), and it was just a couple of miles from there to Castell Coch, an original 13th Century castle, left to ruin, but then re-built to a medieval design in the 19th century. A bit of a folly really, but with its impressive location, looking down over the valley and with its sturdy walls, it’s a nice place to visit if you have an hour or so to kill.

Castell Coch
Castell Coch

From there it was a short drive to Caerphilly, Ros had yet to visit and photograph Caerphilly Castle. Although I’d driven through Caerphilly a number of times over the years on the way to somewhere else, I’d never visited either. But my prime objective was to snap the statue of famous Welsh comedian/magician Tommy Cooper, born in the town in 1921 (died 1984). Unveiled in 2008, and sculpted by James Done. I wasn’t 100% convinced about the likeness, and it didn’t impress as much of those of Morecambe/Wise and Laurel/Hardy, works of Graham Ibbeson. But with the backdrop of the castle Tommy certainly had been given a great location!

Tommy
Tommy

From Caerphilly I took a wonderful drive up through the heart of the Rhondda Valley, or Valleys, as technically there are two of them, Fawr (Large) and Fach (small). The small towns and villages that hug these valleys were built up to support the long gone coal mining industry. The sun shone on this spring like day, and the valleys looked most impressive as I passed the pretty ground of AFC Porth FC on the way, and cursed myself for not coming to these parts more often for my football fix. Perhaps I was being seduced by the sun, a grey dark day in November would clearly not be so appealing. XSC00421

I’d read reports of other ground hoppers visits to Ynys Park and had heard nothing but good things. Upon entry into the ground I could see why, set in the town, yet like most towns in the valleys, the rolling hills drop down either side of the ground. It was definitely a ‘wow’ factor, and reminded me a little of the wonderful ground of Porthmadog near Snowdonia.

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My camera was so active in the first half, I saw little of the game, this was definitely a ground to do during daylight. I toured the ground, chatted to a Mancuian hopper who’d also been at Taffs Well the night before, and clicked away, even missing the second Pontardwe goal whilst chatting to a local. This is in essence what happened;

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2 – From a Ton corner Pontardawe score an own goal (Craig Davis)
6 – Pontardawe equalise with a stunning goal (Chris Allen)
26 – Pontardawe take a deserved lead putting the ball into the net off the left post (Chris Allen)
82 – Wearn scores a beautiful equaliser (Jamie Wearn)

Thanks to the TP website for that! I stood behind the goal for the 2nd half, and watched as the away keeper and my MOM James Harris made some great saves to keep his team in the game, until the late goal by Wearn, lobbing the keeper from just inside the box.

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If you haven’t done so already, put this ground high at the top of your wish list.

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